Tuesday, March 9, 2021

hopefully spirals

 I haven't counted but I feel that most posts in this blog must be dealing with my thoughts or feelings. They are a chronicle of the world, if at all, only because of the effect events in the real world have on my internal being. It's as if I'm a batsman who's wearing one of those fancy mics and is narrating to the world what he feels about the previous ball, the state of the match, interesting titbits from his previous matches, and answering questions the commentators ask. What's worse is that there's no commentator here, no one asking questions. I'm constantly thinking and talking about what's going on inside, even when no one asks, because I can't help myself. I'm obsessed with myself, my opinions, feelings, analyses, interpretations, and narratives. I live to talk about myself, usually to myself, occasionally to others. 

Some of the intentions are good, I guess. It is to understand and improve myself. But the problem with my eyes constantly looking within is that it turns into a hall of mirrors. There is no opening for something novel to enter. In addition to that, such self-obsession turns life into a certain deal-making exercise. My only question for any new experience, even before setting out is, what am I going to get out of this? And I then preempt the entire experience by imagining and reorienting my narratives to include and be shaped by that. It's an insanely stressful way to live. I could live like that though. Unfortunately, it's also terribly unromantic and I refuse to live like that. 

The most recurring question before, or infact even after an experience, can't be, "How has/ will it impact me?". I believe I know enough about life to realise that the world is way more complex than any of my mental models, and also that I can't optimise it all the time. Narratives can only be woven in hindsight and generally speaking, most of us don't have the inclination nor imagination to look back and imagine many counterfactuals. "What is the opportunity cost of the life I've lived", is not only a (to a certain extent) pointless question but also very hard to answer even inadequately. Algorithms and mental models are useful, admittedly, but it is important to understand their place and limitations. Maybe this is the romantic in me talking but I refuse to believe that I can calculate and optimise all aspects of my life and when done, I could lead the perfect life. We won't know the impact of some of our actions until after many years, sometimes not even then. If there's one thing I'm sure of, its this: Our decisions are good or bad not based on their inherent quality (assuming it exists and can be measured) but by our state of mind when we look at it. We live in an eternal now, and that is both our cross and our fortune. 

I don't think there was an exact moment when I went from doing stuff for its own sake to doing stuff because it fits into some image/ narrative I desire at that point. Both aspects have always existed but sometime in the last few years, the latter probably started becoming louder than the former on most days. And understandably so, I suppose,  because being a carefree bachelor is quite different from being married. I'm more conscious of social mores and self-preserving than I usually portray myself to be, and so my moments of whimsy and recklessness are more valuable than more conscious calculative actions. There I go, trying to optimise aspects of the self to optimise my life. But again, I'm talking about this, openly, honestly, on a blog without thinking through the repercussions of my actions. What does that mean then?

I like thinking about living but I don't know if that's stopping me from living itself; By living I mean the process of allowing a lot of varied experiences to affect me. Part of the reason for that shift is also the move to Australia. In India, life knocks at your door and literally pulls you out. There's so much happening. Here, its much more easier to live in a cocoon and you have to make an effort to really engage with 'life'. Or again, am I looking out for something that's not available here thereby missing out what's specific to this country.

Another aspect that I'm trying to change is the practice of blogging only when I feel I have something substantial to say. I actually like that intention. Part of the reason I left social media was because I didn't want to constantly be sharing frivolous reactions and opinions, but the problem with that, atleast when it comes to blogging is that the rustier I get, the harder I find it to articulate when I want to. Additionally, this blog is probably the only avenue where I genuinely produce, and by that I mean where I focus my energies to create something, and when this is cut-off, it makes it really hard for me to function properly. So I'll try to post more often- and try not to worry about how I will be perceived, or if it will decrease the unit value of each post, or flay desparately to produce original thoughts. Again, none of those qualities seem particularly bad, but they don't seem to be giving me any solace (assuming that's what I need now) at this point in time.

Nothing in these thoughts seems particularly new. I'm sure there's a rationale for exactly the opposite behaviour in one of my previous posts. But what do I do? Such seems to be the way of my life. Two steps clockwise, two steps anti-clockwise.

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